Adirondack scientist, photographer, and conservation advocate Brendan Wiltse has joined Paul Smith’s College as Visiting Assistant Professor with its new Masters of Science program and Water Quality Director with the college’s Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI). Brendan is a graduate of Paul Smith’s College and earned his Ph.D. from Queen’s University in Ontario.
Brendan comes to the college from the Ausable River Association (AsRA) where for 6 years as Science and Stewardship Director he contributed to the group’s efforts to protect the Ausable River watershed through science and community engagement.
Everyone has something they have received for free from some sort of convention, fair, conference or event. Most of us let these free giveaways and trinkets pile up in drawers and desks until they are eventually thrown out.
Once they are thrown out, they pile up in a landfill somewhere and the resources that went into making them end up being wasted as well. Many of the popular promotional items chosen to be giveaways are not recyclable, things such as stress balls, flash drives, and other tiny plastic oddities.
When the world starts back up again and large-scale events with promotional giveaways start happening again, check out the DEC’s “Green Your Giveaways” PDF Guide to help plan better promotional items without unintentionally increasing your carbon footprint. The DEC recommends the following tips when purchasing the items that you need:
Cuomo said he was postponing it, due to the state’s dire finances. Though the bond act passed the state Legislature this year, a provision in the state budget said if finances were poor, the state budget director has the authority to pull the bond act from a public vote. That move, however, effectively kills the bond act.
As Plastic Free July comes to an end, here are some takeaways from DEC campaign participants Kayla and Nasibah.
Kayla’s Goal: Reduce plastic meal packaging, beverage jugs, and toiletries
Simple Swap Success – Reusable Storage Bags and Stretch Lids: “I started using freezer safe reusable silicone food storage bags and stretch lids. The reusable stretch lids are perfect for when all of your food storage containers are being used. You can just pop a reusable lid over your dish or bowl and you’re done! The reusable food storage bags and lids are easy to use and come in a variety of sizes and material types. If you’re tight on storage space, both are slim and don’t take up a lot of room in refrigerators or cabinets. I definitely recommend trying them out!”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced this week that the State has issued a Drought Watch for four regions of New York, including Long Island, the Upper Hudson/Mohawk area, the Adirondacks, and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence area. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos issued the watch after consulting with experts from the State Drought Management Task Force. The drought watch is triggered by the State Drought Index, which reflects precipitation levels, reservoir/lake levels, and streamflow and groundwater levels in nine designated drought regions throughout New York. For more detailed drought information, visit DEC’s drought webpage.
A watch is the first of four levels of state drought advisories (“watch,” “warning,” “emergency” and “disaster”). There are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place under a drought watch. However, local public water suppliers may require such measures depending upon local needs and conditions. Visit DEC’s Saving Water Makes Good Sense webpage for conservation tips that homeowners can take to voluntarily reduce their water usage.
The early discovery of Asian Long Horned Beetle infestations saves money and trees.
State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is encouraging the citizens of New York, especially those that own swimming pools, to engage in the DEC’s Annual Asian Long horned beetle Swimming Pool Survey.
Asian long horned beetles (ALB) emerge as adults during the late summer and become the most active outside of their host trees. The goal of this survey is to pinpoint the locations of these infestations before they cause detrimental damage to our state’s forests and trees.
In response to increased litter left behind by visitors to New York’s natural areas, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released a new PSA to remind outdoor adventurers to follow the principles of Leave No Trace. The PSA features images of trash in the Catskills and the Adirondacks with a reminder that litter is not only unsightly, but can be deadly to New York’s wildlife.
In the latest action trying to spare Lake George from turning green, the lake’s main regulatory agency is proposing new rules to curb runoff from lakeside development, including a ban on lawn fertilizer within 50 feet of the lake.
The Lake George Park Commission recently posted its new stormwater regulations, which have been several years in the making, and is accepting feedback for the next two months. Stormwater is the term environmental regulators use for rain and snowmelt that sweeps pollution into streams, lakes and the ocean.
Giant Hogweed is an invasive plant which blooms across many parts of New York State, and summer is the ideal time to spot this harmful invasive. Giant Hogweed is a large flowering plant from Eurasia with sap that can cause painful burns and scarring. Adult Giant Hogweed plants are 7 to 14 feet tall with umbrella shaped clusters of white flowers up to 2.5 feet wide. Its stem is green with purple splotches, and coarse white hairs. Its leaves are large and can be up to 5 feet across. They are incised and deeply lobed. Visit the DEC’s site for more identification tips, including a table of lookalikes by clicking here.
If you suspect that you have found a Giant Hogweed plant, be sure not to touch it. From a safe distance take photos of the plant’s stem, leaves, flowers, seeds, and then the whole plant. Report your siting to the DEC by emailing photos (or calling DEC staff at (845) 256-3111) and reporting location information here: [email protected]. DEC staff will help you confirm if you have found Giant Hogweed, and work with the landowners of confirmed sites to provide information on the plant, and how to control its spread.Ss
On July 15, the Morgan Duke Conservation Society, along with seven new volunteers came together and had a litter clean-up day at the Hudson River Special Management Area, known as the Buttermilk & Bear Slides in Lake Luzerne.
The new volunteers came from Hudson Falls, Glens Falls, Hadley, and Lake Luzerne and other places. They helped picked up garbage throughout the area, along the road, and around campsites near the Hudson River. Several of the volunteers removed some of the graffiti that was on the rocks.
As the Plastic Free July challenge winds down, DEC has an update on how their participants are faring with their own personal goals. Here are some of the creative things they have been doing:
Kayla’s Goal: Reduce plastic meal packaging, beverage jugs, and toiletries
“One of my goals during Plastic Free July was finding and using sunscreen that doesn’t come in a plastic tube or bottle. After a lot of research I found the choices were limited, so I decided to contact sunscreen companies to start a conversation about their packaging. I personalized and tailored each correspondence, making sure to research the company beforehand to include persuasive facts about their sustainability practices and sunscreen usage facts in general. I contacted…
Four major sunscreen brands and another major skin care brand that offers sunscreen and focuses on sustainability. Within a few hours, I received general replies from three of these companies. A few days later I received a similar reply from the fourth company.
A smaller sunscreen company with sustainability in mind. They informed me of positive strides they’ve made with their sunscreen containers, such as incorporating post-consumer recycled content, and challenges they faced in moving away from plastic packaging. I now plan to delve into this further as it may be part of the reason why plastic packaging is so prevalent for sunscreen. They were also open to future suggestions about this topic.
A small business that offers plastic free options. They don’t sell sunscreen yet but informed me of their interest in reducing their plastic use potentially through offering a refill option.
Prior to this experience, I had never directly contacted a company about environmental issues and found it to be inspiring, especially when I heard back, and would encourage others to do the same. I always thought, ‘they’ll never listen to me’, but my experience showed me companies are willing to listen and share thoughts and experiences to start a conversation in an effort to make positive changes for the future of our environment.”
Each summer, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) receives calls from landowners across the Park who want to know how to manage invasive species on their property. The most common question is, “how do I manage that ‘bamboo’?” Most often the plant in question is not bamboo, it is one of three species of knotweed that grow in the Adirondacks.
To help community members learn how to identify these destructive invasive plants, prevent their spread, and manage infestations on their property, APIPP is hosting a free virtual learning event on Thursday, July 30 at 10 am. Visit www.ADKinvasives.com/Events to RSVP.
Arconic to Provide More Than $2.25 Million to Protect and Restore Habitat, Including Critically Important Freshwater Mussels New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced a landmark agreement (PDF) between DEC and Arconic, Inc. Under the agreement, Arconic will provide more than $2.25 million to protect and restore critical habitat at the Grasse River Federal Superfund site in Massena. Arconic is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up contamination in the Grasse River, but was not being held to New York State’s stringent standards for habitat protection, driving DEC to reach this agreement and help save critically important freshwater mussels and other natural resources.
The summer weather isn’t the only thing heating up, so is your compost pile. Unlike our garbage or recycling, composting allows us to directly manage our own wasted food and turn those food scraps into compost. Composting takes some care; add your greens, browns, water and air. Learn more about home composting whether you’re a beginner or a bit more experienced.
The Adirondack Land Trust has announced three live, virtual programs to be held in August. The programs will feature land-protection staff, scientists studying the Adirondack Forests, and a conservation intern who will discuss the ups and downs of conservation fieldwork during COVID-19. The events will be free and open to the public. If you wish to register, or view more information you may do so by visiting the Adirondack land Trust Website.
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